Hops and Barley

Hops Barley Marketplace Epcot 2016 Food Wine Festival

The Hops & Barley Kiosk receives a new look for the 2016 Food and Wine Festival.

Epcot Food Wine Festival 2016 Hops Barley

Those that have visited before will recognize the location on the far right side of the Pavilion.

Menu Hops Barley 2016 Food Wine Festival Menu

The Lobster Roll and Carrot Cake return, while the Smoked Beef Brisket and all three beers are new.

New England Lobster Roll – $7.75 

Lobster Roll Hops Barley Epcot Food Wine Festival

Please excuse the potato quality on the photo – it had gotten dark by the time we rolled around World Showcase for a second time. The “New England” Lobster Roll is usually the most expensive item at the Festival and at $7.75, it’s no different this year. On the plus side, Disney is no longer defrosting Linda Bean’s Lobster Rolls and serving those. Instead, you get a couple bites of chunk lobster with no filler other than the addition of a squirt of buttery sauce on the fresh roll. You might get a kick out of using a Disney Dining Plan snack credit for such an expensive item, but it’s not much of a value out of pocket unless you’ve never had lobster before and live somewhere that it’s largely unavailable. Wherever that might be.

This is what Disney served last year for 25 cents less – way too much mayo and filler. This year is certainly an improvement.

Taste: 8/10

Value: 3/10

Smoked Beef Brisket and Pimento Cheese Served on Griddled Garlic Toast – $5.25

Smoked Beef Brisket Hops Barley Epcot Food Wine Festival

The beef is a bit on the stringy side and we are decidedly in fork and knife territory, but this has a nice natural smoky flavor. The spicy peppery-ness of the pimento cheese contrasts nicely with the garlic and other herbs in the toast and the sweetness of the tomato chutney on top. It’s not so different that it necessarily demands a purchase, but fans of barbecue should be pleased. The portion size is pretty good too.

Taste: 7/10

Value: 6/10

Freshly Baked Carrot Cake and Cream Cheese Icing – $3.75

Carrot Cake Epcot Food Wine Festival Hops Barley

Looks can be a bit deceiving as I feel like this looks pretty basic on the plate, but underneath the sweet cream cheese frosting is a delicious, warm, familiar carrot cake base backed by cinnamon and nutmeg. Usually I get mad whenever someone orders a returning item on the first day BECAUSE IT’S NOT BLOGGABLE, but this is one item I can get behind no matter what. With that said, it is not terribly unique and the portion isn’t going to wow anybody.

Taste: 10/10

Value: 8/10

Frozen Orange-spiked Tea featuring Florida Cane “Orlando Orange” Vodka – $9.50

Frozen Orange Spiked Tea Hops Barley Epcot Food Wine Festival

Like most other cocktails, the Frozen Orange Vodka here is pre-made and served in a small cup.

Food Wine Festival Orange Spiked Tea Hops Barley

The flavor is mostly artificial orange mixed with what tastes like Robitussin which is then mixed with a really sweet tea and then sort of frozen for a little while after. I wouldn’t order it again on flavor or alcohol content. If you’re looking for an orange-y drink, the Citrus Thistle in Scotland is coming up.

Samuel Adams Rebel Grapefruit IPA – $4

Sam Adams Grapefruit IPA Epcot Food Wine Festival

  • Store price: 11.8 cents/ounce.
  • Festival price: 67 cents/ounce.
  • ABV: 6.3%
  • Value: Below average.

Sam Adams Grapefruit IPA is actually pretty good and packs a bit of a punch with the higher ABV. You might remember that I largely ignore the Schofferhofer Grapefruit in Germany because it’s a 2.5% ABV beer that is half grapefruit juice. The grapefruit flavor is still pronounced and might be too overpowering for some, particularly with the bitter taste from the hops on the back end. Overall, it does work and is nicely balanced overall, though the Bud Light crowd may not be into it. You might give it a shot as a 6-ounce draft before committing to a 6-pack. Of course, the price of said 6-pack is equal to just 12 ounces here.

Anchor Liberty Ale – $3.75

Anchor Liberty Ale Epcot

  • Store price: 13.9 cents/ounce.
  • Festival price: 62.5 cents/ounce.
  • ABV: 5.9%
  • Value: Above average.

The United States Pavilion has offered Anchor Liberty Ale off and on for a couple of years now – pictured is a 16-ounce draft from Liberty Inn. This is a very good, fairly straightforward IPA with a crisp mouthfeel and pronounced citrus notes throughout backed up by some bitterness towards the end. It’s not quite world class, but it’s one of the best beers available at the Festival and completely obliterates anything from Italy, Japan, Poland, etc. It’s a shame they don’t serve it in the 22-ounce souvenir mugs of yore.

Dogfish Head Chicory Stout – $4

Dogfish Head Chicory Stout Review Epcot Food Wine Festival

  • Store price: ? cents/ounce.
  • Festival price: 67 cents/ounce.
  • ABV: 5.2%
  • Value: Above average.

I am not sure of the bottle price on the Chicory Stout – only one Total Wine in the area carries it and at $6 for a 4-pack, it must be on sale. Anyway, this stout carries the usual flavor profile as well – roasted malts, chocolate, and coffee with a bit more peppery sweetness than usual. It’s not a personal favorite, but you might try it if you’re in the mood to try a stout. There aren’t a lot of other options.

La Crema Chardonnay – 4.50

La Crema Sonoma is a ubiquitous chardonnay and among the safest bets for those unfamiliar with wine. Unfortunately, it’s overpriced here at the booth, but that may give you an opportunity to try something a little more interesting. La Crema is otherwise rich and creamy with some lingering spice. It’s a great wine to have in the fridge, but not a great value here.

Cambria Estate Winery Benchbreak Pinot Noir

Pictured is last year’s Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir from the same winery. This year’s bottle will set you back between $25 and $35, making the $5.50 pour here one of the best values at the Festival wine-wise. Recommended.


  1. Mary Ann says

    Pretty shocked at the ABV from Dogfish Head. They usually come in higher. I’ve been drinking a fair amount of the Rebel Grapefruit at our tailgates this Fall and really enjoy it. You can find it in a nice variety pack now. And I’m not sure if I find putting CHUTNEY on barbecue offensive or not. Pimento cheese makes sense culturally, but chutney is questionable. You shouldn’t need such an affectation if your sauce is good enough.

  2. Matt D says

    Just returned and tried the brisket last week. It was by far and wide the WORST thing ever! All 6 of us in the group ordered it and threw it away after only a couple of bites. The toast was even bad. The brisket was fatty, stringy, and over cooked hard. The sauce did nothing but add a lot of salt to the dish. When one in the group said something about it to the cast member working the booth, her reply was, “it happens”. After, we stuck to the tried and true foods. I will never go back to B & H


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